"I always try to do something special with my fair entries. This cookie bouquet was a blue-ribbon winner," says Marlene Gates, Sun City, Arizona. "It is a great gift for a loved one or makes a nice Valentine's Day centerpiece."
These are the perfect cookies when cooking for a crowd because the mix can be prepared and stored for months. Also, you can bake a couple batches of cookies at a time and freeze. —Helen Woronik, Salem, Connecticut
These spiced balls are a yummy twist on a traditional favorite. Sometimes I add mini chocolate chips to the dough and, after baking, dip the cooled cookies in melted almond bark. —Joanne Valkema, Freeport, Illinois
Some of my sisters and I get together for a weekend during the holidays to do nothing but bake cookies. These cookies always make an appearance in the goody baskets that we give as gifts. —Nancy Ross, Alvordton, Ohio
We have several acres of hazelnut trees here in the Willamette Valley, where the climate is perfect for this crop. Harvesttime is a big family event with everyone pitching in to help. I try to incorporate this wonderful flavorful nut into our recipes, and this cookie is always a hit.
-Karen Morrell, Canby, Oregon
To reduce the fat, they replaced the shortening with about half the amount of butter, substituted two egg whites for one of the eggs and used only half the peanut butter, substituting the reduced-fat variety. They also cut the amount of chocolate chips in half and switched to miniature chips so they would be better distributed in the dough. They cut back on the amount of sugar in the original recipe, too. And finally, they added a bit of cornstarch to keep the cookie's melt-in-your-mouth texture.
When it’s baking time, my family lobbies for these Mexican crinkle cookies. You can replace 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate with 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder plus 1 Tbsp. shortening, butter or oil.—Kim Kenyon, Greenwood, MO